Water leaks and billing nightmares

Had a slow water leak under the house. There was no water visible in the yard. My bill went up about $30 last Sept. I blamed it on my yard watering and flowerbeds.

Got busy and really didn’t notice the bill during the winter. My wife paid it as usual. I went back and checked. It was a bit higher. I guess the leak got worse

The crap hit the fan in March. Our excessive water useage vaulted us into a higher sewer bracket. Bill jumped $60 in one month. We would be stuck in that higher bracket until the utility was satisfied our useage had dropped.

$175 for a plumber. He replaced a 9 foot section under the house He gave me a letter to take to the water company.

Took it down there that day. Clerk put a hold on my account and told me not to pay it. It took a couple months and each bill had a shut off notice. Scaring the hell out of us. I called each month and was reassured they were working on it.

July’s bill arrived and my monthly bill for June was back to $50. That’s what it usually is. But the accumulated unpaid was $150. Didn’t seem like they adjusted anything. Another phone call. Yes they did adjust it, June 25. $80. Still leaving almost a $200 total bill. They WANT MONEY Now. I had no idea they were finished and had removed the hold until I called.

Turns out they only adjust the sewer charge for 2 months. All that extra money we paid last winter? Tough luck. Sucks to be me.

What a mess. I’m going by this evening to drop off payment in the night deposit.

Those sewer charges are just wicked. They are higher than what the water costs. I’m pretty sure they got me back in the normal bracket rate. You never want to get in that higher one.

I feel sorry for anybody on electronic draft. We only caught this problem when we wrote checks to pay the bills. Otherwise this might have dragged on many more months. Auto draft paying bigger and bigger bills.

Some utilities will warn you if your usage jumps, but they expect some jumps in the summertime. Whenever your bill jumps like that you should shut off all the faucets and go check your meter. I hate that part with the sewers also, increased water usage for me is always going to be outdoor usage that isn’t going into the septic sewers.

One of my relatives had a water leak in the hot water line. What actually brought it to their attention was the electric bill. A 2000ish square foot house used over 8000 kwh in one month. The reason: The water heater was constantly cutting on.

Ouch, that had to hurt the wallet

I was amazed no water pooled in my yard. It all stayed in my crawlspace. I had no clue it was leaking.

I better replace this lightbulb before all my electricity leaks out. :smiley:

I keep debating whether to get a separate meter to water the yard. There’s no sewer fee. But it’s several hundred bucks to get the meter installed. Takes awhile to make it worth it.

We had that problem a while back. Copper water lines had split, releasing a lot of water. The plumber replaced some of it with plastic, and he said nothing was leaking when he was done. However, he said the remaining copper lines would develop more splits, and eventually we’d have to go plastic throughout.

We once had a leak out by the meter. Our side, of course. I was at work, but they said water was shooting in the air. And that various others on the street/line called in because the had no water pressure. So they shut off our water (of course). Our normal water bill at the time was about $17. It was about $140 that month.

My Dad installed a watering system for a pecan grove he had planted. Alas, he always had a brown thumb and they all died for some reason. He had run a pressurized line out to a valve at the edge of the field and never removed it.

A freeze broke the valve and his bill started climbing. He finally realized something was wrong but it took him a while to remember that pipe. By that time it was summer and the leak was an ecosystem.

There were all kinds of plants, insects and small animals of the sorts you see in wetlands in the middle of a summer-dry Texas field. Surreal. We had to chase away a heron to investigate. It was sad to see it dry up and die.

Then there’s the opposite problem. At work my manager pays all the bills. The electric bill dropped from one hundred something dollars a month down to seventeen dollars a month.

After six identically low bills she mentioned it to me. I checked the meter and it was not moving.

There was some arguing with the power company. They wanted me to pay what I paid the previous year, but I’d replaced some old equipment with more energy efficient models, plus I’d cut weekly hours a bit. We eventually compromised.

aceplace - I have electronic draft. I still get a bill and I look at it every year. And my water company sends me a notice if I have constant water flow for more than 24 hours.


This is a silver lining. I’d be doing the dance of joy with a plumbing bill so low.

This is why I love having my meter inside my basement. If there’s a leak where the water gets charged, I’ll know about it.

The toilet flap had gotten stuck open just before the call came to attend my mother during her final days, which wound up being weeks.

$1,000 just for the water (I’m on septic tanks so no sewer charges).

Oooooh, snap! That’s harsh…

I had a $1000+ water bill due to a broken pipe in my yard. Between a bi-monthly bill that doesn’t report the current month usage, and fine print that said that aging wear failures are not back compensated, I pretty much had to out-of-pocket the whole thing plus trench and replumb everything from the meter to my house.

I feel your pain :frowning:

I worked for a software company that provided utility billing software to municipalities (in the Northeast at least utilities are usually public). When we would install our software and convert their legacy systems, We would always ask when the last meter reading took place. Because many meters have not been read in years! The utility was “saving money” by estimating most bills based on historical usage. They would do an actual reading once a year or so. If they had the time, the staff and the interest. One major Northeast city had not read most of their meters for 10 years! When they did read them as part of the data conversion some of the “actual” bills were in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars because of under estimating. Legally, the utility could lien and take to court for unpaid balances. From what I understand several millions in these catch up billings were written off as uncollectable by the City.

Your post made me aware how lucky I was that I had a slow leak. A major leak like you had is extremely expensive.

I worry about the old water pipe in my yard. It runs under the driveway. Busting through concrete to replace it won’t be easy or cheap. Nothing I can do but hope the pipe doesn’t break for another 20 years. I’ll deal with it if it does break.

My sister had rented out her house for a winter, and the tenant let a dripping, flooding actually, faucet go unreported for months. I think that came in for nearly $2000, maybe $3,000 before anyone noticed. Or gave a shit.